The Monkey Is In.

So be prepared. Bring a banana.

I'm a writer of horror and dark fiction. I've been doing this since 1999 and believe me when I say, it's cheaper than therapy and safer for the world at large.

Filtering by Tag: cruelty free

Notoriously Morbid Mystic Monthly (FINAL REVIEW) December 2018

We have arrived at the final review in my Mystic Monthly subscription service from Notoriously Morbid. For those who don’t know, NM is an indie makeup company that has two monthly subscription services. I signed up for the $10/month liquid lipstick subscription in 2018 (NOTE: the price has increased to $12 for 2019.) Though it’s been fun, I need to move on to something else. But if you’d like to check them out, go to their website: NOTORIOUSLY MORBID

(I paid for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

The Mystic Monthly theme for 2018 was Dragons - which is basically why I signed up in the first place. December brought us Fuzanglong, an underground dragon that protects buried treasure. The Cursed Crystals eye/lip topper is called Hidden Treasures - makes sense.

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First, the lip/eye topper. I got another Cursed Crystals in the Advent calendar, but it definitely has a different color shift. For this one, the purple and rose are easier to see than the green. I haven’t tried it on my eyes yet, so I’ll let you know how it goes when I do.

The lipstick is beautiful. I tried to take pics to show the differences between fresh, dried down, pressed together, and with the topper. Not sure it’s translating all that well in the photographs but the topper was kind of fun to put over this. The lipstick is a little streaky so it would be better to layer it a time or two.

The next pics are, in order: freshly applied; after it set; after I pressed my lips together to get the blue sparkles to show up; and with the lip topper applied over my lipstick. Again, it’s a little hard to distinguish the subtle differences, but they are there!

You get an idea of the patchiness, too, so I want to wear this again, but layer it and then see how long it lasts.

The Mystic Matte formula of liquid lipstick is pretty good. It’s not super drying, the colors they come up with are somewhat unique, and they are fun to play with. It’s been fun having this subscription, and it did give me a better look into the Notoriously Morbid brand as a whole. I’ve been able to try a bunch of different products, and there are still a few more I’d like to investigate. Don’t forget to check out their site link above if you want more information!

Notoriously Morbid Mystic Monthly July 2018

For those who don't know, Notoriously Morbid is an indie make-up brand and they have a monthly subscription service. For $10, you get one of their Mystic Matte liquid lipsticks and one other full-size lip product. They are also Cruelty Free and subscribers get a coupon code every month for future shopping! Check them out here: NOTORIOUSLY MORBID.

(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

The 2018 theme for the subscription is The Dragons Tail so this month we have a color inspired by the Japanese ocean dragon, Ryujin.

It is a dark ocean blue with silver and gold shift and gold sparkles. I'm not sure I can see the gold but the silver makes it look like more like an icy deep blue. FUCKING GORGEOUS. (It matches my hair a little too much so I'll be remedying that with more purple soon...). Again, it's a very thin formula, more like water, and one layer can be sheer and little streaky/patchy.

So I let it dry down completely then added a blue lip liner to hide the natural pigmentation of my lips before applying a second coat of the lipstick. I've only received three colors so far but this has got to be my favorite.

They included a piece of bubble gum this month so I took an action shot because...why not?

The other item is a lip sugar scrub (it must be new because I can't find it on their site). Basically it's the Slumber Salve mixed with sugar. And it works beautifully. It doesn't taste too sweet, either, so I wasn't tempted to lick it all off before the oils and waxes could soften the skin.

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Very happy with this month's items. I look forward to see what else comes my way in the future.

Notoriously Morbid Mystic Monthly Subscription May 2018

I really thought I'd be on the waiting list for much longer before a space opened up on this lip product subscription service. But here we are! Right now this will be more of an introduction than a review. I have my Invisalign trays for only a few more weeks (gods willing) and once that's done, I can get a better idea of how most of these products will work. But let's get better acquainted with Notoriously Morbid, shall we?

Notoriously Morbid is an indie cosmetics company based in West Virginia, in the Appalachian Mountains. They are also cruelty free (hooray!) which is what made me check them out in the first place. From their site:

We pride ourselves in creating unique cosmetics that are
perfect for those who embrace their beautiful darkness.

Notoriously Morbid makes a ton of different beauty products, from eye shadows, face powders, body lotions, primers, blush and bronzers, lipsticks, and more. You will find a lot of the more 'unusual' colors, like deep greys, blues, greens, bright fuschias, etc., that many people may not find comfortable to wear on a daily basis (or can't due to work restrictions or what not) but there are tons of 'wearable' colors, too. None of that shit makes me uncomfortable and I work from home so further into the fray I went.

I discovered they have 2 subscription services. The Vanishing Cabinet is a monthly beauty subscription that costs $13.25 (domestic US) for 4-5 items, usually mini, with a pop culture theme. The Mystic Monthly is their lipstick subscription service with a yearly theme. It runs $10 for US customers (shipping included) and you get one full size exclusive Mystic Matte lipstick and one other full size lip product (could be another lip stick or something else already in stock). The theme for 2018 is "The Dragon's Tail". HOW COULD I NOT SIGN UP???

I signed up for the lipstick one because, unless you're new here and don't know, I'm a lipstick whore. I hopped on the waiting list and figured I'd get in long after my Invisalign was done. 

SURPRISE!

As I type this I'my wearing the Mystic Matte I received so I could at least get an idea of how it looks on my lips and how it feels. Not really trying to test the longevity yet but so far it's doing a pretty bang up job. Hopefully next month I can be a bit more thorough! But let me share a few pics I've taken of the products I received in my first month.

Free Dum Dum? HELLZ YEAH!

Free Dum Dum? HELLZ YEAH!

Notoriously Morbid includes a little info sheet with an explanation of the theme, lipstick name, the ingredients of both products, plus a shopping code (which is not for the unbelievers...I mean, non subscribers), and a sucker. Awesome! I think I got the cherry flavor because of the Slumber Salve.

The Slumber Salve is exactly what it sounds like. You put it on at bed time, sleep, and wake up with soft lips! The scent/flavor is cherry, strawberry, butterscotch, and pink lemonade. The lemonade is the strongest and it's seriously smells like a glass of pink lemonade. I haven't tried it overnight yet so I'll update you in another post. The little jar isn't full and searching the pics on the site, though the tubs look a little different, they are definitely more filled than mine. Keep in mind the product in my subscription is coating only one side of the jar (I'm guessing it melted a bit in shipping but it hadn't leaked or anything) and even after I scraped it out and set it right, the container was not full or even close. It might be filled by weight but even then, I have a hard time believing it's correct.

The Mystic Matte liquid lipstick is the main event here. I don't know if this color is the same for all subscriptions but it's called Katla. There's an explanation for that on the little sheet of paper, which is kinda cool. This color is a beautiful light copper with a pink base. Once you let the lipstick set a bit, and press your lips together, a bright gold sheen pops up. It's stunning. I don't think I captured it in the swatches, though. I like that the tube comes with a little mirror, too!

First pic is the lipstick freshly applied, still wet. The second was after it set a bit and I opened my window shade to let in some sun. You can really see the gold sparkles there! The gold sheen is a little apparent in the 3rd pic but my phone camera just didn't do it justice. The last photo shows that even after its set, you can still smudge the color (and that really shows the pink base). So while it IS set on the lips and kiss proof, it will come off when eating or drinking. 

Not sure if you can see how damn pretty Katla is in these last pics but trust me, she is. And now that I've had it on for a couple of hours (playing with the dog, drinking water, licking my lips as I struggle to figure out how to move forward on my current story...), you can see how it's faded on the inner rim of my lip. Which makes sense because that's the wet part (that's what he said) and most lip products will not adhere there for any period of time. It also hasn't bled or feathered into the lines around my mouth and that's awesome. I did NOT use a lip liner before applying Katla to my lips.

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So for my first exposure to this brand, I have to say I'm happy. The full size Mystic Matte goes for $12.50 and the lip salve is $4 (though, again, I don't think my jar was full which is fucking weak). But I don't want to judge anything to high or harsh after just one month's experience with the service. I'll keep you all posted!

Ipsy February 2018

For those who may not know, Ipsy is a monthly beauty subscription service. For $10 you get 4-5 sample sized (sometimes full sized) makeup, skin care, and hair care products, as well as a reusable makeup bag. Check them out for yourself here: IPSY

(I purchase this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

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The theme this month is "Unzipped". I think that's in reference to being naked (not necessarily physically) or our true form or WHO THE FUCKING JESUS GOD CARES? The bag is pretty cute so I'm hanging on to it for now. Let's get to the products.

PUR Fully Charged Mascara: I haven't tried this yet because I'm trying to Project Pan another mascara (plus I have another one from Catrice that's open). But the reviews look good. I love trying new mascaras. Full size is 15mls for $22, so this 4 mls mini is around $5.50. (CF)

Beaute Basics Eye Shadow in "Lavish": While this shadow is described as a warm, shimmery bronze, it looks more coppery on my skin. Which is fine because I'm sick of bronze shades. It's very soft so can kick up some powder but the pigmentation is nice. Haven't tried it on my eyes yet, though. This looks like a full sized pan (4g) and goes for $15 on the BB site. (NCF - so I'll probably donate it)

Mellow Cosmetics Liquid Precision Pen Eyeliner: I haven't tried this on my eyes, either, but the swatch looks nice and black! It didn't smudge after it dried, unless I put water on it. Pens can be a little tricky to work with as they can dry out fast or get covered in eye shadow and not work as effectively. This also looks full size and goes for $14. (CF)

Luxie Beauty Blending and Shading Eye Brush 249: I love getting brushes and I've enjoyed every Luxie Beauty one I've received. They are super soft but not flimsy. Since it's double sided, it's not available on Ipsy or LB's site (naturally). But it looks like a combo between the precision shader ($14) and the tapered blending ($12) brushes. So let's average that to a $13 value. (CF) 

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Sand & Sky Pink Clay Mask: Now this stuff can go fuck right the fuck off. First of all, look at that picture. If you're gonna skimp on a sample then don't put it in a tube 4-times the size you need, asshats. Also, the package said it contains .45 ounces of product (the Ipsy site says .5). I cut that sucker open and weighed it. There was somewhere between .38 and .40 ounces (I used a titch on my face before it caught fire and I had to remove it, and whatever was left in the tube that I couldn't scrape out, which wouldn't be usable product anyway). I don't know how much is in a full sized jar but it goes for $49. I'd say this sample is worth $1, if even that much. (CF)

Overall, the value is around $47 (I'm not counting the clay mask because fuck that shit). So even without that this ain't too bad!

Nerium Review

Ahhh... ALL THE POSTS...(this will be the first of 3 that I'll probably put up this week)

I got the chance to to try something for free that I probably never would have purchased myself. A good friend of my husband is a sales rep for Nerium International. They produce skin care and vitamin supplements. So in exchange for an HONEST write-up (I wasn't paid or compensated in any way nor required to write a glowing review) I got 4 days worth of samples of three products.

A very brief overview of the company is this: they make skin care and wellness products with age-defying properties. From their website:


See the Difference

Transform your skincare routine with our unique, science-based products that target all the major signs of aging and the underlying causes.

Feel the Difference

Take your health to the next level with our wellness products that keep you looking and feeling great, inside and out.


The entire brand has that "feel good, do good" mission ideal, contributing to the welfare of their communities, and gosh darn it, just being happy. There are also opportunities for people to become Nerium Brand Partners, aka sales reps though it does sound nicer with their phrasing. The company started in 2011 with a staff of only 13 people and one product, their Age Defying Night Cream. They now have 9 or 10 different products, have over 200 employees, and produce in 8 countries. 

Check out their website where you can find a ton of information about NERIUM INTERNATIONAL

Now, to the products I got to try!

 

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Age Defying Eye Serum: These were tiny little packets but I was able to get 2 uses per day out of each one. I wish I remembered to take a picture. It's a beige colored cream that didn't feel too heavy or too thin. In fact, it was the most unique eye product I've ever tried. It dried within 30 seconds and didn't leave a tacky residue on the skin, like most creams. It felt like fucking VELVET under my eyes. It looked like I used one of those pore filling face primers - it looked so smooth and even.

From the website: This transformative serum delivers both short- and long-term benefits for the appearance of smoother, younger-looking eyes. Powered by our exclusive SIG-1191™ and I-FIL4R™ ingredients, our Eye Serum helps reduce the appearance of dark circles, puffiness, wrinkles and fine lines, making the skin appear more toned.

While in the immediate sense most of those claims are true, I could still see my dark circles very well. I also can't agree with the long term claims because I only used it for 4 days. Who knows? It could actually do what they say if you used it for a month or more. 

I tried to use it directly under concealer but over moisturizer. My eyes have been dryer lately so I wanted to know if this stuff would work as well or maybe better than a traditional eye cream. Short answer - NOOOOOOPE. It looked so dry. If I added eye cream over this stuff, it almost made a paste - like the serum never fully absorbed into my skin and actually just created a barrier over it to make the skin look smoother. So that kinda sucked. But when I used it alone and simply put powder over my skin (on a minimal make-up day), it looked beautiful.

Again, perhaps with prolonged use, it would improve concealer application and overall dryness of my under eye.

 

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Eye-V Moisture Boost Hydrogel Patches: Since I love sheet masks, I also love using eye patches, too (they're like under eye masks). These little buggers were made of a wobbly thin layer of gel. Once you got them positioned under the eye right where you wanted them (very easy to manipulate into place), they stayed put. You could totally lean over and they wouldn't fall off. After 20 minutes, you remove them and pat in any extra serum. 

From the website: Innovative patches deliver targeted hydration to the delicate skin around your eyes for the appearance of an instant, refreshing “eye lift.”

This was the first time I tried them. They felt pretty awesome.

This was the first time I tried them. They felt pretty awesome.

For me, there was no left over serum. And though I didn't try the patches right before doing make-up for 'date night' as the instructional video suggested, I did use them right after washing my face one morning when my eye bags were particularly puffy. Can't say they reduced the puffiness much, though my left eye (which is worse than my right) did look SLIGHTLY better. However, the patches felt so cooling under my eyes. It was wonderful first thing in the morning!

 

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Youth Factor Superfood & Antioxidant Boost Powder: I'm not that much into dietary supplements like this. I will have an Ensure or a protein shake on days when my stomach feels overwhelmed by regular food (I have gastro paresis) or I just wanna give it a break from working overtime. *coughBOOZEcough* And since I have trouble digesting fruits and vegetables, this actually sounds like it could be a good thing for me. But that's why the gods invented smoothies, stewed fruit, and mushy peas.

From their website: Daily use powder featuring body-fortifying antioxidants and hearty servings of fruits and vegetables to help boost your body into its optimal state of wellbeing.

I was pleasantly surprised by this. I mixed a packet with plain water because I wanted to get an idea of the true taste. It was pretty good! Tasted like a berry punch but not sugary-sweet and just a hint of an undertaste (like most protein drinks will give). Color me impressed.

That's all I got to try. I got a few pamphlets with the samples but no in real in-depth information. Hence I headed to the website. I also contacted the company directly about their animal testing policies. Here's their answer:

Dear Peggy,

Thank you for contacting Nerium International Product Integrity. I am happy to help with your inquiry.

Nerium International is committed to bringing products to market that are safe, socially responsible, and compliant with the local regulations of the countries in which our products are sold. Nerium International does not conduct animal testing on our skincare products or ingredients. We conduct testing on all of our finished products using third party clinical testing facilities with human volunteer panelists. In the case of dietary supplements, such as EHT, animal testing is accepted to support the ingredient safety of the product.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.  

Okay, cool. So they don't test their skin care products or ingredients on animals. I love that they use humans for final testing. That's pretty awesome. HOWEVER, did you pick up on the double speak in there, about complying with countries' laws? (I bolded the text to make it stand out) Yeah. That means if a country they produce in requires animal testing, they will do it. Here's some info on the animal testing policies for the countries they are in (if anyone finds different or updated info, please feel free to let me know):

Canada: Animal testing is not regulated by the government (for cosmetics). So I'm guessing that means it's up to individual companies if they do it or not.

Mexico: It is legal to test but I don't think it's required.

Japan: It's neither required nor prohibited. Again probably up to the individual company if they want to test on animals.

New Zealand: Animal testing was banned in 2015.

South Korea: I read a couple years ago that S. Korea wants to make animal testing completely illegal by 2018 so it might happen this year. At least they're working toward it but I know many companies still do it.

Australia: In 2017 they banned the sales of cosmetics tested on animals. Not sure about anything else.

Hong Kong: As it's part of China, animal testing is no longer a requirement. However, anything claiming "cosmeceutical" status (a makeup or product that claims skin benefits) is required to be tested on animals. 

Colombia: That country is a MESS with animal testing. Years and years of violations and abuse. Hard to find any info saying otherwise.

Also they were right up front about the supplements being tested on animals and I can appreciate their direct honesty.

So, for me, I will not be purchasing anything from Nerium in the future. Anyone who's been reading my blog or reviews for a while knows that I'm trying to go cruelty free in as much of my life as possible. But for those who aren't following that path, by all means look into this company and their products and get some to try for yourselves. A lot of it actually looks pretty cool.

If you're in the Detroit area, I have contact info for a local rep who is probably one of the most friendly people I've ever met (also my hubby wouldn't be friends with a douchebag). I'm sure if you're not all that close, at least he might be able to direct you to someone who can hook you up! (don't quote me on that because I actually haven't asked him if he could do this!) He's also an RN so that gives me hope he wouldn't support a company that uses hazardous ingredients.

Mark Gadzinski

248-444-1947

mtgflyboy@gmail.com

markgadzinski.nerium.com

 

So there you have it. Again, check out the link I provided above for the Nerium website to get more info, email Mark and ask questions, try some of the products for yourself. Only you can determine what works best for your skin type and beauty ideals. These are just my experiences with something new and I wanted to share the information. If any one does try Nerium products, let me know what you think!

 

Ipsy December 2017 Review

The end of 2017 is upon us. And so is my last Ipsy review for the year. For those who don't know, Ipsy is a monthly subscription service. For $10 you receive 4-5 sample (sometimes full) sized makeup, skin, and hair care products. Check it out here: IPSY

(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

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I guess the theme this month is Snow Globe, whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean. Who cares anyway? The bag, though, is awesome. It looks like some kind of fancy clutch you'd take to a party or something. So yeah, that's a keeper. Let's see what's inside this month!

The Chok Chok Green Tea Watery Cream: Doesn't sound to great, does it? Who wants their creams watery? But, according to the on-line description, this is supposed to be a great gel based moisturizing cream with 63% fermented green tea extract (instead of water). I do like the gel based ones. They're kiind of cool. Haven't tried this and I probably won't because Tony Moly is not cruelty free. Full size is $25 so this sample should run around $4. (NCF)

Nip + Fab Dragon's Blood Fix Pumping Serum: I love the glycolic cleansing pads from N+F so when I got this in my bag, I was pumped! No pun intended. Haven't opened it yet because I've still got half a bottle of The Ordinary buffet serum to use up. Full size is $20 so this sample is worth about $8. (CF)

Luxie Beauty Precision Shader Onyx Brush 239: I'm never mad at brushes, y'all. This is a nice compact shader with a slight taper to it. It really can put shadow RIGHT in the crease. It's not as good at blending that color out if you got too precise and heavy with a shadow so keep that in mind. This is full size and is valued at $14. The link is to their Rose Gold style - the black handle might be an Ipsy exclusive. Not sure. (CF)

Pixi by Petra Mesmerizing Mineral Duo in Orchid Ornament: I've never tried Pixi shadows before. I've heard mixed reviews so I've never wanted to spend the money on them. They're not high end pricing but they're not drug store either. These are two very soft and beautiful shades. They actually seem different in the pan compared to on the skin. I can't quite put my finger on it! You can see in the swatches that these shades can be built up but for my eye look, I just powdered my eyelid and swept a little of each color on (the gold on the lid and the dark rosy brown in the crease). These particular shades aren't available on the Pixi website (again, might be exclusive to Ipsy) and the mesmerizing minerals only come in 6-pan palettes. But they all look really pretty! Full size is $12 so this little duo is probably around $3. (CF)

NYX Faux Blacks Eyeliner in Obsidian: I actually own two other colors in this line. They're not great (one is Oxblood, the other is Olive but I kept the red one because I have no other color like it) so I was a little bummed about getting this. AT FIRST. Boy was I wrong about Obsidian. First, you'd think the name would indicate it's black but it's actually a dark, dark blue. Second, I've never encountered an eyeliner that stayed on my tight line and waterline as long as this one. MAYBE the Urban Decay 24/7 came close. So holy fuck me I love this pencil. It goes on super creamy so it wears down very fast. But I can live with that! This is full size and goes for $8. (CF)

Total bag value is around $37. Not too bad considering only one of the items isn't cruelty free and I'm stoked for everything else, including the bag. Nice little holiday wrap up (heh, see what I did there?) for 2017. Hope you all have a wonderful, safe, and happy holiday! See you in 2018.

Medusa's Makeup September 2017 Review

For those who don't know, Medusa's Makeup is an indie brand that has a monthly subscription service. For $16 you get 3-5 full-sized makeup products that are vegan and cruelty free. Check them out here: MEDUSASMAKEUP

I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones. And if I'm remembering correctly, the each of the remaining months of 2017 will include a brand new MM product.

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I love that MM includes an information card that tells you about the products you've received AND how much they're worth. I seriously think the only service NOT doing this is Ipsy. WTH. From the dark berry colors it looks like this month was going for a Fall theme. I think.

Eye Glitter in Key Lime Pie: This is the 3rd glitter I've received and just like the others, I'm less than impressed. The color is cool but as you can see, it's hard to get a full non-patchy application (yes, I put glitter glue down on my hand first). And I tried for several minutes to build it up but it just never got there. $8

(NEW) Luminous Creme in Star Bright: At first, I loved the look of this. Not so much reflective or shimmery but more like a wet look. I figured it might be too waxy but it's very smooth, softer than I thought. Unfortunately, once the wetness absorbed into the skin or evaporated, all that was left was glitter. I had glitter all over my face after I used this - and no, I didn't use it the same time as the eye glitter so it wasn't that. $12

Totally Baked Eye Shadow in Awesome: Though this is the 4th eye shadow I've received, I LOVE THIS COLOR! Gorgeous magenta berry shade, on the info card is says it can be used as blush and that's how I've been using it. It is beautiful! The swatch on the left is the shadow used with a wet brush and the swatch on the right is with a dry finger (ouch). I can't wait to try this on my eyes. $9

Lip Paint in Bang: After getting three meh colors in other months, I'm totally digging this! I love the formula of these lip paints but I haven't been super excited about the shades. Again that fall berry/magenta color is gorgeous! The lip swatch got a bit messy because I was trying to avoid my Invisalign appliances but otherwise, I love it. $9

After going back and looking through the past 6 months, I'm getting a lot of repeats. I know this is a smaller brand so I can't expect a bazillion different products, but there are a lot I haven't received yet. I've probably donated half of what I've gotten so far so I'm not sure if I'll continue through the rest of the year. Sure, I'm excited to see what NEW products they'll include each month, but will it be worth another 3 glitters or eye shadows or lip paints? I just don't know.

 

Medusa's Makeup August 2017 Review

For those who may not know, Medusa's Makeup is a vegan and cruelty free indie makeup brand with their own monthly subscription service. For $16 each month you get 3-5 full sized products to try (so far I've always received 4). Check them out here: MEDUSASMAKEUP

I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones.

I have to say I'm a little meh about this month's box. 

Deluxe False Lashes - Lite: I don't really wear falsies (heh - anyone up on 50s lingo knows why I'm chuckling at that), not even for cosplay. But these feel so light and don't have that thick band that I might consider it. However, you can see from the closeup above that they don't even look the same. The left eye flare out at the end is sparse and was already bending off kilter when I tried to measure them for my eye. It also looks not as full through the rest of the lash either. The right one looks great but what the hell? They look super cheap. Probably won't even bother. $8

Totally Baked Eye Shadow in Whatever: This is the third baked eye shadow I've received. It's beautiful like the others. But I finally realized that since these are baked, the might look better and last longer if applied wet. So you can see the different in the photos. I'm going to try the wet method with the other 2 and see if that helps! $9

Eye Dust in Ultraviolence (Gods, I love that name!): Like the last two eye dusts I've received, Ultraviolence is GORGEOUS!! It's an icy lavender. Looks kinda white but there's definitely a soft purple shift to it. $8

Metal AF Lip Gloss in Cherry Pie: I was so excited to see this. AND I got the red color! But...I can't say I like it. The formula is thin and watery, like a liquid lipstick, so I had a little trouble getting a clean line on my lips (see pics below). It dries down rather quickly so it won't budge, unless you eat or drink something. Somehow it manages to keep a sheen - kind of like a muted chrome finish. So I wouldn't consider that metal as fuck. It is, however, streaky AF. The first pic below is the lip gloss alone, after it's dried. My bottom lip is okay but the top is awful. Liquid lip products tend to leave a heavier line at the outer edge, which you can see, but it also did that on the inner rim. The middle of my lip looks lighter in some spots. You can build it up to an even coat but just avoid the already darker areas - it's hard to fix once it sets. The bottom pic is with lip balm over the dried gloss. It does help the feeling of dryness with this gloss but it also accentuates the patchiness. So while this is a gorgeous color, it's a pain in the ass. It wears off weird at the corners of my mouth (even when I don't eat or drink) and it created dryness when I removed it. My lips were peeling pink patches for hours after I scrubbed this off. I'll probably just wear this with a lip balm or other creamy lip product because on it's own, I can't stand it. $11

A $36 dollar value is pretty good (the card says $37 but according to their website the eye dust is $8 not $9) though I'm disappointed with how many repeats I'm getting. They make several others items that I've never received but I suppose since they are a smaller company, I can't expect a shit ton of variety every time. I may only continue this for a few more months, though. We'll see... 

Ipsy July 2017 Review

Okay, I have to admit the bag really got me this month. So much so that I don't even care* how fucking useless the theme/card is all the time.

For those who don't know, Ipsy is a monthly beauty service. For $10 a month, you get 4-5 sample (sometimes full) sized beauty, skin, and hair products, along with a reusable makeup bag. Check them out here: IPSY

I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones.**

I think the theme had something to do with lazy summer days or some shit. I don't know who Gudetama is (another Internet sensation of which I'm completely unaware) but OMG look at that egg yolk's cute little butt! I literally (in the classic-and-should-be-the-only definition of the word) squealed with delight. It's a keeper for sure. Now, on to the products.

Ahava Mineral Hand Cream: I've received a few products from this brand before. While they've all been just okay, this hand cream is probably the nicest. It smells fantastic - but very floral. If that bothers you, you'll hate this. It's thin so it absorbs quickly but the skin feels silky afterwards, not greasy. Full size is $24. This travel sized tube is valued at $10. (NCF - some mixed info but no corroborating evidence of CF on any of the research sites I check)

IBY Crease Eye Shadow Brush: Inspired By You Beauty (pronounced I.B.Y.). This is supposed to be a domed shadow brush, great for blending out darker shadows on the eye. The cut on mine looks kinda wonky - not an even domed shape. Not sure if that's how it's supposed to be. It is very soft, synthetic, and 100% vegan. Full size valued at $12. (The brush is vegan so you have to think they're a cruelty free company but I can't find any info on their site or on any of the websites that compile CF company info.)

Ciate London Wonderwand Gel-Khol Hybrid Liner in Black: The claim is this has the pigmentation of a gel liner but the blendability of a khol pencil. And I would agree. I tried this on for shits and giggles without eye primer, over eye shadow, to see how it would work. It lasted longer that the eye shadow and didn't fade at all. The outer wing did lighten a little, which isn't surprising on my oily lids, but unless you were all up in my business, you never would have known. The brush is a titch scratchy but nothing terrible. I can't tell if this is full sized or not, but if not it's darn close. Full size is $18 so I'll call this item $15, just to be safe. (CF)

Seraphin Botanicals Lychee + Gold Healthy Glow Rose Gold Blush: (geez there's lot of long named shit this month). GORGINA blush color. Beautiful blend of peach and pink with a soft glow. Almost enough to forgo a highlighter. Almost...It kicks up a ton of powder but it's surprisingly not very pigmented, which I prefer. Easier to work with. This is full sized and goes for $14 (Vegan and CF)

Ofra Cosmetics Eyeshadow in Gold Rush: I've heard sooooo much about this brand and now I finally get to experience it for myself! Though I'm bored to tears with yet another warm universal gold/copper color, it is rather nice. I didn't use a primer to test it out and the color payoff was pretty dang good. And I didn't wet it, which is how it really shines, I guess, since it is a metallic. So I'm excited to play with it some more. Full size, 4g, is $12 so this 2g sample costs $6 (Vegan and CF)

I've come up with a $57 value this month. Holy schnikies. Ipsy hasn't had that good of a value for a while now. And I do actually like everything this month!

*That's a lie. I still care and still get pissy about it.

** I hate that I have to put this disclaimer in the post because people in general assume if you review something positively, it's because you're being paid to do it. Fucking weak.

Medusa's Makeup June 2017 Review

So nice to come home from a weekend con in Pittsburgh to see my MM bubble pack waiting for me! If you don't know, Medusa's Makeup is a monthly subscription service. For $16 each month you will receive 3-5 full sized makeup products from MM (as in, it's their specific brand). They are vegan and cruelty free. Check them out here: MEDUSA'S MAKEUP

(I pay for this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

Semi Matte/Creamy Lipstick in YOLO: While I despise that name, the shade is pretty. Again, it's a color I probably won't wear. Super hot pink! But it goes on like a dream and feels wonderful. $12

Oh So Natural Lip/Cheek Stain in Raven: It looks like it would be a deep blood red but it's more like a sheer lip balm. It feels great on the lips but on the cheeks, it basically just looks like I put grease on my face. No color at all. So I'll just use it as a lip balm! But that packaging is so dang cute! $8

Totally Baked Eye Shadow in Tubular: GORGEOUS color! I can't even handle it. It seems more pigmented than the last one I got (the pretty gold) and I hope it lasts longer than that one, too. I'm hopeful that because it's a darker color, it will. $9

Shimmer Effect Eye Dust in Jail Bait: Holy schnikies this color is stunning and super pigmented! Just look at it! Now sometimes these kinds of pigments will swatch better than perform but even the Wasabe color didn't swatch this beautifully. I'm super excited about this one. $8

Over all value of $37 is cool by me!

Medusa's Makeup May 2017 Review

For those who may not know, Medusa's Makeup is an indie brand in beauty that has a monthly subscription service. For $16 you get 3-5 full sized vegan and cruelty free makeup products. Check them out here: MEDUSA'S MAKEUP

(I purchase this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

Ooooohhh....GLITTER!

Glitter in "Pegasus" ($7): It's kind of hard to tell but this glitter has a purple base with blue, green, and gold sparkles. And it's called Pegasus. PEGASUS! I cannot wait to try this (excuse my dry and flaky hands).

Lip Paint in the color "Shag" ($12): This is my second lip paint. And while I like the formula - not too dry, fells comfy - these kinds of watermelon or salmon shades look shitty on me. But it would make a nice base for another color on top (oooh...dirty).

Lip Paint Remover ($10): This is simply a colorless oil that will remove the liquid lipstick once it's dried on your lips - and it works well. Sometimes those things are a BITCH to get off (ooooh...dirty...what is wrong with me?). It basically feels like any kind of oil so if you've already got some of that, you might not need this. But does yours smell a little like cotton candy/burnt sugar? I didn't think so. It's not a strong scent so don't worry about that.

Totally Baked Eyeshadow in "Bitchin" ($9): I had to show you the back sticker on this. So cute! (I accidentally scraped the sticker so it WAS in tact when they sent it) Gorgeous gold shadow, which is one color I don't have and have always wanted. Thank you, MM! Smooth feel, great shine but not glittery, and doesn't fade throughout the day. I used this as a brow bone highlighter and it was perfect (for my skin). It might work as a regular highlighter too. Hmmm...

Aside from the color of the lip paint, I'm in love with this subscription service this month. And it's a $38 value so that ain't too shabby!

Medusa's Makeup March 2017 Review

All righty folks. I was researching a bunch of cruelty free subscription services and came across this one. I've heard of the brand, Medusa's Makeup, from Tori over on YouTube (I think). It's made in the US and all cruelty free and vegan (the vegan part doesn't mean that much to me - just the CF status). They have a monthly subscription service where for $16, you get 3-5 full sized MM's products. Pretty awesome. Check them out here: MEDUSA'S MAKEUP

I purchase this service with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones.

I took a ton of pictures for this first review so you can get an idea of how everything comes each month. I won't be quite so detailed in the future.

Similar to the Ipsy pink bubble pack (this one has a little more purple to it - not that it matters but...shut up), all the items come in this envelope with extra bubble wrap around the products inside. And UNLIKE Ipsy, the card included has all the product info WITH pictures AND pricing! See the size comparison of cards below between MM and Ipsy. Fucking weak-ass Ipsy card...

Anyhoo...

The products I got in my first month are pretty fucking tits. Granted, I don't like half of them but the sizes are great and the products themselves are cool. Let's get into it.

Stick It Eye Primer: This I don't like. It's one of those wax based eye primers that just don't work on my oily lids. When I first used it, and put the eye dust over it, the green pigment really popped! But within an hour or two, it had faded and creased like a mother fucker. This probably works better for people who have normal to dry eyelids. I'll see if I can find another use for it because it feels nice on the skin. Maybe for my nails/cuticles...? 

Lip Paint in Get Lucky: I like the product itself. Goes on rather smooth and it's pretty dang pigmented. But I don't like the color. A little too bright/neon for me and it can look kind of streaky at first. I think that's an issue for most bright or neon colors because of the white base needed to create it so it probably takes a little practice to get it to look really good (though I got it to look good for the swatch). But it didn't feel super dry. It was very comfortable!

Lipstick in Lydia: Now THIS is right up my alley. Love love love the shade, a soft lavender. The lipstick is very creamy, pigmented, and felt so great on the lips. A little similar to Colourpop's Marshmallow but a bit brighter with less grey. The packaging for the lipstick is freakin' awesome.

Eye Dust in Wasabe: My final product is a loose mineral pigment in a gorgeous bright green shade. The swatch below does NOT do it justice but it's a nice alternative if you want to go soft. It works best with a wet base underneath (like the primer but I used a glitter glue the first time I wore it and that shit didn't budge for 12 hours). That's when the color really explodes. Gorgeous! 

That's it for the first month. A $39 dollar value (see, the math is already done for me on the card!) for $16 is fucking sweet. I'm super happy with this service so far. Yes, it's just one month but what a first month! If anyone wants the lip paint or the primer just let me know. It's yours.

Petit Vour May 2016

I'm now in the second month of a three-month trial on this box. It's a monthly beauty subscription that carries only cruelty free/vegan products. For $15 each month you get 4 sample or full sized items. Check them out here: PETIT VOUR

(Note: I have purchased this trial with my own money and all opinions are my honest ones)

I love the little card that comes with this box. Not just because it's got all the relevant info on the back (glares over at Ipsy) but the front has a pretty design and a big "Thanks" from PV to its subscribers. Apparently they're celebrating three years of being in business!

Ecco Bella gloss: Gorgeous color. Because it's a gloss it's a nice sheer wash of berry. It's not sticky or heavy. It's actually perfect. I highly recommend a lip liner, though! If it were more opaque I guess people would consider this a great fall color. Personally, wear whatever fucking color you want in any fucking season. This gloss seems like it would be great any time of year, no matter the color. It's full size and runs $20.

Bedrock and Bloom Smart Ash: Just a WEEEEE bit disappointed that in my second box I got another sample of this stuff (check out my April PF post to see what this stuff is all about - with an awesome visual). It's a cool product and really different. But I just used up my original sample and don't really want to start another one. If anyone wants it, let me know. Sample costs $3 (full size if $30).

Captain Blankenship sea salt hair spray: I don't normally use this kind of spray even when I had long hair. But the card says you can spray in on damp hair, braid, then sleep on it for nice waves in the morning. I don't need to spray anything to get that effect but what the hell. I'll give it a shot. It does smell REALLY good. Full size is $24 so this sample is $7 (NOTE: Any time I see the name Blankenship, all I can think of is MXC - anyone else? Anyone??)

Juice Beauty peel, blemish clearing: I believe the peel in this product is chemical (as opposed to peeling off a giant sheet of dried product in the shape of your face). JB is in A LOT of subscription services but I don't think I've ever gotten anything before. It smells kinda weird (like the plastic container) but I'll still try it out. $5 sample size (full is $39).

Over all the value of this box is $35 (that's what he said - ugh, I hate myself for making that joke). Aside from the repeat offender, I'm still liking the service!

Petit Vour April 2016

A quick recap: I've been trying to go cruelty free with my makeup. And in that pursuit, I thought I'd try out a beauty subscription service that provides ALL cruelty free/organic/vegan products. Petite Vour is such a subscription service. I only signed up for three months to test it out (as opposed to a subscription - which will run you about $15 each month). If you'd like to check them out, go here: PETIT VOUR

Petit Vour comes in a cute little pink box. After you open it, the "Be Bold. Be Kind." slogan stares up at you with its big soft bunny eyes. It's actually kinda cool. I even love that the card inside, which has all the product info/pricing on the back (TAKE NOTE, IPSY), greets me with a hearty "hooray" and a spray of flowers. That other card is specific to one of the products - extra directions and info. It was a little intimidating. You'll understand when I describe it.

As the items in this box are organic and vegan and all that jazz, don't be surprised by some higher price tags.

Studio 78 Paris Organic Makeup (eyeshadow): The grey swatches you see are of the color eyeshadow I received. Really nice dark grey color with a taupe undertone. Very different. You can keep it light so more of that taupe shows through or build it up to a nice charcoal grey. Apparently no chemicals and bad shit in this brand's makeup so that's good! This will cost you $31-34.  

Kumari River Bath & Body Oil: I do like a nice body oil. You can either put a few dropper fulls into your bath water or rub it into your skin (unless you get the hose again...) after 'hydrotherapy' - read: shower/bath/steam/19th century therapy for mental illness. It smells really nice - little minty, little citrus. I'll try it out this weekend at Comic Con. The gods know I'll probably need some good hydrotherapy at least once. This sample bottle is $8.50 (full size $34).

Bedrock & Bloom Smart Ash Teeth Whitener (extra card was for this product): Okay this stuff scared me a little. It's a black powder that you use to whiten your teeth. Yes, seems contradictory, I know. Just wet your toothbrush, dip it in the powder, and brush your teeth. They give specific instructions and helpful hints to keep your bathroom and yourself relatively clean (this stuff stains, obvi). And I think it actually works. The sample is worth $3, a full jar will cost you $30. But a little goes a very long way.

Arrrgghh and avast, ye scurvy scallywags!

Arrrgghh and avast, ye scurvy scallywags!

Juara Hand & Nail Balm: Like everything made with coconut something or other, this cream is nice but a little heavy on the coconut scent. It also doesn't really feel like my skin is that much softer or smoother after using it. Maybe I need to use more at once time? This sample tube is $2.50. Full size is $25.

If I had set this up as a monthly subscription, my $15 would have gotten me $45 worth of stuff. That's pretty dang good! I'm excited to see how the next two boxes stack up (ha! see what I did there?).